Interview with Daniel Ben-Yehuda, General Manager Ramada Plaza Bucharest &Ramada Bucharest Parc Hotels.
How was the year 2011, from your point of view, for the entire hotel market? Do people travel more, compared to other years?
We had a very good 2011, our indicators increased nicely by more than 10 %, our main growth engine was Ramada Plaza hotel, which was launched during the peak of the crisis and is gaining market share ever since !!
The hotel market of Bucharest was among the European markets that were most affected by the global economic crisis in Europe, according to the European Hotel Valuation Index for 2011. How would you comment this situation?
The situation in the Hotel market prior to the crisis was as all the economy, a little inflated (rates wise) and as in any evolution of crisis we had a dramatic plunge and following this plunge we will and are already witnessing a moderate recovery which will take a long time to reach the 2007 results.I think we are going to follow the European recovery with a small delay.
What should be done in order to make this sector more profitable for you and advantageous for customers?
In general I think the rates have reached rock bottom and I think our clients are surprised sometimes by our low rates, so I think it will be fair to increase gradually the rates without annoying our clients, simultaneously we should invest in the product and services in order to give an up to par hotel accommodation service.
How was year 2011 for your hotel?
How did you end this year, in financial terms?
We had a good year and we increased our total turnover by 25%.
What are your plans and targets for 2012?
What is the number of tourists you expect this year?In order to achieve the targets we are now in the final stages of building a new restaurant for Ramada Plaza with 240 seats and with an investment of around 1 million. In addition, we have just finalized a new and modern parking place for 250 cars.For the second part of the year we plan to open an indoor outdoor semi-Olympic swimming pool & fitness club with the investment of 1.5 million. Beginning with 2013 we plan to begin our Convention Center project of approximately 4000 sq/m for up to 2500 clients in one banquet hall. This hall will be the ideal location for congresses in Bucharest with the investment of around 5 million. We expect to continue the growth rate from 2011, taking into consideration, January was a very good month and February was not as expected due to the harsh weather and many cancelations.